TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS (SOLVED)
Q1. The ‘Professor’ knew too much. How did he prove himself? Fill up the space with suitable examples from the story, using the given clues:
(a) About muzzle velocity : _________________
Ans: When the sergeant told the trainees that the muzzle velocity at which the bullet leaves the rifle is well over two thousand feet per second, the Professor intervened and said that it was two thousand four hundred and forty per second.
(b) After a thirty mile walk : _______________
Ans: Quelch would pretend to be tireless even after a very exhausting 30-mile walk and would try to appear very jovial by asking others to sing a song.
(c) His salute on payday : __________________
Ans: On payday, when the officers were in sight, he would swing his thin arms and march to the canteen like a Guardsman.
(d) The loud sound of a high flying invisible aeroplane : _________________________________
Ans: On hearing the loud sound of a high flying invisible aeroplane, the ‘Professor’ said that it was a North American Harvard Trainer.
(e) About-hand grenades :
Ans: When Corporal Turnbull said that the outside of a grenade is divided into a large number of fragments, the ‘Professor ’ said that it was divided into forty-four segments.
(f) During cookhouse duties : ______________
Ans : During his cookhouse duties too the ‘Professor’ protested against the unscientific and unhygienic method of peeling the potatoes, saying that it led to the loss of vitamins.
Q2. Based on your reading of the story, answer the following questions by choosing the correct options.
(a) Private Quelch was nicknamed ‘Professor’ because of _______________ .
(i) his appearance
(ii) his knowledge
(iii) his habit of reading
(iv) his habit of sermonising
Ans : (iv) his habit of sermonising.
(b) One could hammer nails into Corporal Turnbull without his noticing it because of _______.
(i) he was a strong and sturdy man
(ii) he was oblivious to his surroundings
(iii) he was a brave corporal
(iv) he was used to it
Ans : (i) he was a strong and sturdy man.
(c) The author and his friend Trower fled from the scene as _______________ .
(i) they had to catch a train
(ii) they could not stand Private Quelch exhibiting his knowledge
(iii) they felt they would have to lend a helping hand.
(iv) they did not want to meet the cooks.
Ans: (ii) they couldn’t stand Private Quelch exhibiting his knowledge.
Q3. Answer the following questions briefly.
(a) What is ‘nickname’? Can you suggest one for Private Quelch?
Ans: A nickname is a name jokingly substituted for a regular name. Another nickname for Quelch could be – Pretentious Bully.
(b) Private Quelch looked like a ‘Professor’ when the author first met him at the training depot. Why?
Ans: Private Quelch was thin, walked with a stoop, kept frowning and wore spectacles like a scholar. His habit of sermonising, giving lectures and exhibiting his knowledge earned him the nickname of a ‘Professor’.
(c) What does the dark, sun-dried appearance of the sergeant suggest about him?
Ans: Sergeant’s appearance suggests that he was tough and had been exposed to all kinds of weather and places of army life.
(d) How does Private Quelch expose his knowledge even further as the sergeant’s classes went on?
Ans: Quelch not only corrected sergeant’s knowledge of the rifle but he could answer all the questions directed towards him. He was particularly very good with technical definitions.
(e) What did the Professor mean by “intelligent reading”?
Ans : Quelch was diligent, had brains, thirst for knowledge and he put all these to intelligent use. Since he remembered everything precisely and used his knowledge at critical junctures to impress his instructors, he termed it ‘intelligent reading’.
(f) What were the Professor’s ambitions in the army?
Ans : Professor Quelch wanted to race ahead of all his batch in getting a commission. His first step was to get a stripe.
(g) Did Private Quelch’s day to day practices take him closer towards his goal? How can you make out?
Ans: Quelch was highly ambitious, very diligent, brainy but his strategy to impress his instructors, backfired. In pursuit of showing off his own knowledge, he irritated and tried to belittle his instructors. He rudely interrupted them in front of the squad and exhibited his knowledge. No wonder he is relegated to the back quarters of the kitchen house.
(h) Describe Turnbull.
Ans: Corporal Turnbull had a great reputation for being tough and was not the one to be rubbed the wrong way. The squad was in awe of him and it was believed that one could hammer nails into him and the fellow would not even wince. He was young and had recently come from Dunkirk.
(i) How did Private Quelch manage to anger the corporal?
Ans : Private Quelch not only interrupted the Corporal rudely by needlessly elaborating the Corporal’s explanation of a grenade, but he also had the audacity to compare him to another instructor and tell him how he should deliver his instructions.
(j) Do you think Private Quelch learnt a lesson when he was chosen for cookhouse duties? Give a reason for your answer.
Ans : Private Quelch was conceited and satisfied in his own cocoon. He was totally indifferent to what others thought about him. When he was relegated to cook house duties, he might have felt bad temporarily but he would never change. It is evident from his lecture in the cookhouse, that some thickheads are too thick to change.
Q4. Write down the positive and negative traits of Private Quelch’s character and instances from the story.
Positive traits Instances from the story
(i) He was very hardworking. He sat up reading books till late night.
(ii) He was very confident. He had the guts to interrupt his instructors like the sergeant and even Corporal Turnbull.
(iii) He was blessed with an excellent memory. He could remember technical definitions and other information very precisely.
(iv) He appeared most enthusiastic and tireless. He could think of a song, even after 30 miles of the walk.
Negative traits Instances from the story
(i) He was not pleasant in his looks. He always had a frown, was lanky and stooped.
(ii) He was very condescending to his team-mates. He would pretend to help and show off in the bargain.
(iii) He was tactless and ill-mannered. He rudely interrupted his instructors and pretended to have superior knowledge than them.
(iv) Quelch’s worst flaw was his tendency to overshadow others. He needlessly tried to show his knowledge, belittle and humiliate others.